Bass Coast Climate Action Network by Michael Nugent

Coastal Erosion at Inverloch

(edited article from the Bass Coast Post 21.7)

You’ve installed solar roof panels, you avoid heavily packaged goods, you leave the car at home and walk or bike, you take your own cup for takeaway coffee …But while you and I are trying to reduce our carbon footprints and to live more sustainably, individual actions alone won’t save us from climate change’s most severe effects.

We also need collective action from federal, state and local governments to reduce emissions.  Collective action is also needed for climate change adaptation to help communities adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change, including those already upon us in Bass Coast, such as increased coastal erosion. And while we all know it’s a global problem, we also know that tackling climate change requires local action.  That’s why locals are joining the newly formed Bass Coast CAN (Climate Action Network).

BC CAN’s goal is “A just transition to a safe climate future for all people, all species, and all generations”.  We operate primarily within the municipality of Bass Coast, but also promote and engage in activities with a state, national or global focus.  We seek to galvanise action at the local level through generating, gathering and delivering information, facilitating community action, and influencing decision-makers. We also call for strong leadership and decisive action on climate change mitigation and adaptation and for all levels of government to respond to the current climate emergency.

BC CAN has run two events to date: in May, our screening of Accelerate attracted over 60 attendees. In June, more than 140 people took part in a panel discussion focused on the extraordinary erosion at Inverloch beach, with input from two internationally renowned scientists and local citizen scientist Aileen Vening. We recently held a forum of core members to identify what activities the group will take on in future.  Many wonderful ideas were brought up that you will hear more about soon. For now our most significant action, and it is a very important action, is the launch of a Climate Emergency petition to make sure Bass Coast Shire Council understands that its community demands serious and immediate action on climate change.

Already, over 800 councils and governments, including Melbourne, Sydney and New York, in 17 countries and covering more than 140 million citizens, have declared a climate emergency (up from 700 just a month ago).  They acknowledge that dangerous climate change is happening now, and accelerating.  They are acting on their citizen’s concerns that current policies and actions are seriously inadequate, exposing current and future generations to unacceptable risk.  Declaring a climate emergency recognises that the window of opportunity for effective action is rapidly closing.

If our council accepts the science, then it needs to take a leadership role in the community and declare a climate emergency.  A public declaration will signal its acceptance of the need to act with urgency and its intention to do so. It will change how the community at large views this issue and help normalise discussion of climate change as THE issue of our day; one that demands action at a pace far beyond business and politics as usual. Importantly, it will also put upward pressure on state and federal governments to do likewise.

For the full article and contact details go here.